Forget the stiff Christmas dinners with the family: they have nothing on the potentially forced-fun atmosphere of a work Christmas party. You are, after all, still at work, even if you’re not technically on the office premises. While letting loose might help ease the tension, knowing what not to do could save your job—and a lot of embarrassment.
1) Don’t drink like you’re at your best friend’s wedding.
Yes, there might be an open bar, but that doesn’t mean that you should gulp down cocktails like water. Giving what you think is a drunken, heartfelt toast will not bring tears to your co-workers eyes the same way it would at a wedding, and it probably won’t rocket you to the top of the promotion chain, either. It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t drink, so try to keep the consumption moderate—especially on an empty stomach.
2) Don’t make out with your cube mate.
If network TV has taught us anything, it’s that plastered co-workers always end up making out at the end of the night. You might have a good friendship with some of your co-workers, but the holiday office party is not the time to change your status to “cube mates with benefits.” Remember that you’ll have to deal with the awkward tension—and judging looks—every day for the foreseeable future once you’re back in the office real world.
3) Don’t go into clubbing mode.
Some work Christmas parties have a dance floor. That doesn’t mean you have to use it. Showing off your old break dancing moves on a dare from your fellow co-workers after a few pints may sound like an epic idea, but really it’s just a way for them to shamelessly entertain themselves as you awkwardly thrash on the floor. And ladies, think twice before you head out in those sky-high heels: a misplaced cord or a slippery floor could see you taking a tumble in front of the entire office—talk about an embarrassing accident at work story.
4) Don’t spend too much time with your boss.
Trust me on this one: there are just far too many opportunities to get in trouble here. A few too many drinks could have you thinking you’re on a first-name basis with your boss or get you on an unsolicited rant about company policy and pay. Both are bad. Your boss does not want to hear your drunken whining and complaining, nor does he/she need to know the juicy details of your personal life. That’s what your friends are for; save it for New Year’s Eve.